“Fever Dream” review: Argentinian thriller targets motherhood
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Told from a not-so-distant future, like a trail of commentaries on shared memories, the sensual and mystifying thriller “Fever Dream” by Peruvian director Claudia Llosa (“The Milk of Sorrow”) is well structured like a dreamlike vision. non-linear retracing the footsteps of two women on the edge of the precipice where man-made catastrophe and supernatural intervention clash.
The voices recounting the fragmented memories are those of Amanda (María Valverde), a Spanish national visiting her Argentinian father’s rural hometown with his young daughter, and David (Emilio Vodanovich), a seemingly unsuitable local boy whose mother, Carola (Dolores Fonzi), believes he is dangerous. Superstition overtook Carola’s sanity after her child nearly died of poisoning. Half of her soul, she thinks, has migrated to another body.
Llosa, a filmmaker with an affinity for the inexplicable, extracts keen observations about the apprehensions of motherhood from Samanta Schweblin’s novel, crafting a serpentine narrative teeming with impending doom for all involved. The more Amanda and Carola, strangers turned intimate friends reveling in unspoken sexual tensions, get involved, the more blurry the perceptions of the former become, although we don’t know if it is a physical, psychosomatic invasion. or spiritual of his body.
Worried about her daughter in this unusual place, Amanda is obsessed with “rescue distance” (the literal translation of the title of the source material into Spanish), a concept referring to the distance a mother can be from her offspring and have. still enough time to intervene before tragedy strikes. Valverde transforms his character from a harmless curiosity to a disturbed state with a solid naturalness, while Fonzi exudes the glamorous intensity of a classic Hollywood star. Attentive to the changing moods of the other, the actresses summon the chemistry of contrast.
As the voiceover dictates, the film’s visual choices, both in its heavy close-up cinematography and the elliptical grammar of the edit, either focus on the details hidden in each frame or widen the perspective through which the events are. observed. Resembling Amanda’s subconscious, most of the scenes resonate with a dreamlike sensory quality and are just cryptic enough to catch our interest. Moments of unsettling surprise, linked to David’s behavior, keep a layer of fear present.
Elegantly intoxicating in its atmospheric construction, “Fever Dream” maintains its mantra until its very last twist. Even as clues bring us closer to a logical explanation for the collective unease, the underlying mystical stream that Llosa sets up feeds our doubt.
“Dream of fever”
In Spanish with English subtitles
Duration of operation: 1 hour 33 minutes
Playing: The Landmark, West LA; Los Feliz 3; available October 13 on Netflix